The Portland Timbers ground out a close first half against the Philadelphia Union before scoring a pair of quick goals off assists from Darren Mattocks in the second to earn a 2-1 win.
In a back and forth first half, both sides created chances and it was the Timbers who looked to have the better of the match but the Union who came closer to opening the scoring, nearly getting the better of the Timbers on two occasions early on.
In the 21st minute, forward Fabian Herbers nearly put the Union on the board as he chased down a ball in behind the Timbers back line and went for the chip only to see Jake Gleeson charge down the ball, making the save. Then, in the 32nd minute, Tranquillo Barnetta ran down a ball bouncing toward the Timbers’ end line and sent a sharp ball back to CJ Sapong in front of goal. The Union forward made solid contact with the ball, but could only throw his hands up as the ball slammed off the post and away.
The Timbers would start to exert themselves on the match more and more as it wore on, however, coming close on a series of chances as the clock ticked toward the half. However, despite a plethora of shots and free kicks, the Timbers were rarely able to force Union keeper Andre Blake into a save.
With the first half an exercise in frustration for both sides, it was only fitting that the second would start with a quick pair of goals.
The Timbers struck first, getting the ball quickly down the pitch off the opening kickoff and finding Darren Mattocks on the left. Mattocks deftly beat his man and slipped a quick ball into the center of the pitch, finding the run over Diego Valeri for the simple finish.
As the Timbers celebrated, however, the Union immediately charged back into the match. Pushing the ball down the center of the pitch, moments after restarting play, the Union got the ball on the ground in the Timbers box before dropping it back to the late run of Chris Pontius, who fired his shot home past the dive of Gleeson.
The even scoreline would not remain for long, however, as the Timbers were able to get back in front in the 53rd minute. As the Timbers got the ball down the pitch on the left, again it was Mattocks making things happen for the home side. After bringing the ball down, Mattocks was able to cut inside and fire off a right footed shot, skipping the ball off the body of Fanendo Adi and into the back of the net to give the Timbers a 2-1 lead.
The Union kept up the pressure as they looked for an equalizer, but the Timbers were able to cope and looked to hit the Union on the break, putting the Philadelphia back line in difficult positions and eventually earning a red card for center back Joshua Yaro after a series of reckless tackles earned him his second yellow of the match.
The win puts the Timbers in 5th place at least until Sporting Kansas City’s match tomorrow. The Timbers next head on the road to take on the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.